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UNICEF Niger Humanitarian Situation Report No. 03: 01 January to 30 June 2021

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Highlights

• Since the beginning of the year, children have been increasingly exposed to multiple risks, including separation from families, violence, sexual abuse, trauma, child labor and recruitment by non-state armed groups. As of June 30, 2021, 377 schools were closed nationwide due to insecurity (21% more than in 2020).

• In May 2021, an armed attack in Tillia (Tahoua region) caused further population displacement and led to the kidnaping of 4 boys and the killing of 137 people, including 29 children (3 girls). UNICEF and its partners identified 7 separated children (all boys) and referred them to a temporary hosting family.

• 21 children died in a fire incident in a school in Niamey in April. UNICEF provided 620 desks, 30 chairs,30 easel boards as well as school bags, textbooks and other educational materials for the benefit of the 4,000 pupils and the 30 teachers attending the school destroyed by the fire.

• Since the beginning of the year, 205,363 children aged 9 months to 14 years were vaccinated against measles with UNICEF support, which represents 171% of the annual target. This result is due to the emergency immunization response to the ongoing measles epidemic.

• From April to June, the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) recorded 42 alerts on displacements of population and conducted 24 evaluations including 12 multisector assessments in the Diffa, Maradi, Tahoua and Tillaberi regions. RRM actors also provided NFI kits to 23,514 people, shelter assistance to 16,069 beneficiaries, and WASH assistance to 32,444 beneficiaries.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Humanitarian Needs Overview: According to the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) published in January 2021, 3.8 million people in Niger need humanitarian assistance, including 2.1 M children. Niger continues to face acute and chronic humanitarian crises which, throughout 2020, were further exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and continuous deterioration of the security situation increasing needs and constraining access to beneficiaries, especially the most marginalized. Indeed, the needs analysis shows the persistence of five major crises affecting the country: population movements due to insecurity, armed conflict, and irregular migration; epidemics including the COVID-19 pandemic and measles; floods and other natural disasters; food insecurity; and malnutrition.
The 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), launched in February 2021, targets 2,1 M people for receiving humanitarian assistance, 1,5 M people for life-saving interventions, with a total budget of 523,2 M USD. Following the release of the 2021 HRP, the 2021 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) for Niger was reviewed to update the situation analysis, the needs, the targets and the funding requirement , also to take in consideration the deterioration of the situation in the first part of the year. In 2021, UNICEF planned to deliver humanitarian assistance to 1,4 M people, including 1 M children. During the first semester, UNICEF was able to reach 456,980 people (32% of the target), including 236,167 children (23%). The number of children targeted by UNICEF through its child protection assistance represents 43.5% of the total number of children targeted in 2021. As of the end of June, only 10.3% of the results has been reached. More actions are needed from UNICEF and its partners to increase the number of children benefitting the humanitarian assistance, especially in child protection. In the first semester, insecurity spread at a rapid pace in Niger and the increasing number of attacks along the borders with Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria have led to significant displacements in the country and continue to wreak havoc on the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. Moreover, the sharp increase in insecurity and movement restrictions imposed by the Government have hampered humanitarian actors’ access to conflict- and crisis-affected populations. UNICEF calls on all stakeholders to respect humanitarian spaces that allow safe and sustainable access to deliver humanitarian assistance to affected population, including women and children. The Government of Niger launched a return campaign, which aims to allow IDPs to re-join their villages they fled because of insecurity or other shocks. UNICEF contributed to the development of a note by the Humanitarian Country team providing guidance to the humanitarian community about this process. Lack of reliable data and information, absence of a joint operational planning with the government, weak coordination among humanitarian and development actors and doubts about the voluntarism of the return by IDPS are among the main challenges. In partnership with government and NGOs, UNICEF continues to provide multisectoral and coordinated assistance to the affected population, both through an emergency approach to assist the most vulnerable populations immediately after a shock, and through longer term interventions to guarantee durable solutions.

COVID-19 pandemic: Following the confirmation of the first positive case of COVID-19 on March 19th, 2020 in the capital city Niamey, UNICEF has been working closely with the Government and its partners to step up the response and prevent further proliferation of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, already facing the consequences of multiple crises (nutrition, conflicts, natural disasters). As of 30th June, out of 118,441 tested people, Niger registered 5,489 cases of COVID-19, 5,206 patients healed, 193 deaths and 90 active cases, among them 16 in hospitals. A significant decrease in the positive rate of the COVID-19 test rates as well as in the number of alerts. Most of the cases were identified among the migrants in Agadez region and the travelers in Niamey region. The case fatality rate is 3.5% and the cure rate is 95%. COVID-19 vaccination campaign is undergoing in all the 8 regions of the country, where 89% of vaccination sites are functioning. As of June 27, a total of 290,366 people was vaccinated, 78% of the 369,090 people targeted in the first phase, while 51,622 people received also the second phase. Among them, 265 minor cases of adverse events after immunization (0.1%) and 7 serious cases were notified. The trend in the number of doses administered since the start of vaccination shows that only the regions of Maradi and Niamey have each administered more than 80% of the vaccines received. The consumption of vaccine doses was 69% (469,426 doses), with a better consumption of the SinoPharm vaccine compared to the AstraZeneca one. The communication activities about vaccination are ongoing with different modalities: community level discussion, interpersonal communication, mass communication, capacity building. Door-to-door awareness campaign implemented by 6,473 field workers allows UNICEF and its partners to reach 1,952,164 people through the various messages and channels used. Tv spots, radio messages, blogs, and other mass communication continues, and 1,878,562 people were reached through community radio. Main challenges are the complete utilization of AstraZeneca vaccines before the expiration date at the end of July and the resourced mobilization to cover operational costs of the campaign, considering the difficulty from the government to respect their engagements.